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Old 04-14-2012, 10:15 PM
 
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Hello, my family and I are leaving California hopefully next year. We are looking for a mountain/country place to live. We want to live close enough to a bigger city to have the amenities needed, but far enough out of it to have some land and be able to enjoy the quiet. We are from Southern California so we are not use to harsh winters. What are the winters like in Montana? Is there places that are harsher than others? What are jobs like? My husband is an electrician and I work in the dental field but am a stay at home mom right now. My husband rides dirt bikes, we have 3 labs and 2 year old twins, so we want some space to play and have fun. We are trying to decide between CO, WY and MT. Any honest advice would be appreciated!
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:49 AM
 
1,077 posts, read 2,498,838 times
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What you are looking for is what every other person is looking for so in a sense, what everybody is looking for will soon disappear. With that being said, if you are worried about the weather, come spend some time in Montana in January or February before deciding to move here. One thing I can't stomach is people moving here from Cali thinking "it can't be that bad", only to move to warmer climates after carving up the mountainsides with huge cabin-mansions and ruining the 20 acres of pristine "country/mountain/quiet" with their herd of horses. So my best advice would be visit and stay more than a week or two in the normally harshest months and make your decision then.
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Old 04-15-2012, 11:22 AM
 
443 posts, read 770,172 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssirevaag View Post
Hello, my family and I are leaving California hopefully next year. We are looking for a mountain/country place to live. We want to live close enough to a bigger city to have the amenities needed, but far enough out of it to have some land and be able to enjoy the quiet. We are from Southern California so we are not use to harsh winters. What are the winters like in Montana? Is there places that are harsher than others? What are jobs like? My husband is an electrician and I work in the dental field but am a stay at home mom right now. My husband rides dirt bikes, we have 3 labs and 2 year old twins, so we want some space to play and have fun. We are trying to decide between CO, WY and MT. Any honest advice would be appreciated!
If you can do without the mountains, Poplar, MT is a nice community that offers many of the things you are looking for. If you absolutely need the mountains, I'd suggest Browning.

Last edited by ursa22; 04-15-2012 at 11:44 AM..
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Old 04-15-2012, 12:49 PM
 
6,753 posts, read 11,211,306 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssirevaag View Post
Hello, my family and I are leaving California hopefully next year. We are looking for a mountain/country place to live. We want to live close enough to a bigger city to have the amenities needed, but far enough out of it to have some land and be able to enjoy the quiet. We are from Southern California so we are not use to harsh winters. What are the winters like in Montana? Is there places that are harsher than others? What are jobs like? My husband is an electrician and I work in the dental field but am a stay at home mom right now. My husband rides dirt bikes, we have 3 labs and 2 year old twins, so we want some space to play and have fun. We are trying to decide between CO, WY and MT. Any honest advice would be appreciated!
Understanding completely where you're coming from, I have to second Magoomafoo's advice. Don't even think about moving to Montana unless you've visited during the winter. No matter where you go in MT, the winter is going to be harsh compared to what you're used to, or even think of as bearable. Add to that the culture shock which is not a myth--MT is a different world, and that is what makes it so lovely and precious for some of us, but it's a hard transition from SoCal if you're not attuned to it. I understand that CO is much more similar to CA in general attitudes these days (and I didn't detect from your post that you wanted to get out of CA because of CA politics). I see you're asking the same question in the CO and WY forums, and that's a good idea--just do your own research, too, and explore existing threads.

I would advise against considering Wyoming, just based on your post. You have to love the harsh climate and way of life already, and not make it an experiment.

Have you considered Southern Oregon? Lots of mountains, room to play, good-size towns, friendly people, reasonable winters.
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Old 04-15-2012, 04:52 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
9,270 posts, read 11,786,463 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssirevaag View Post
Hello, my family and I are leaving California hopefully next year. We are looking for a mountain/country place to live. We want to live close enough to a bigger city to have the amenities needed, but far enough out of it to have some land and be able to enjoy the quiet. We are from Southern California so we are not use to harsh winters. What are the winters like in Montana? Is there places that are harsher than others? What are jobs like? My husband is an electrician and I work in the dental field but am a stay at home mom right now. My husband rides dirt bikes, we have 3 labs and 2 year old twins, so we want some space to play and have fun. We are trying to decide between CO, WY and MT. Any honest advice would be appreciated!
A lot of these mountainous places are pretty protective of their part of the state and don't take too kindly to outsiders, especially ones from California.
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by WyoEagle View Post
A lot of these mountainous places are pretty protective of their part of the state and don't take too kindly to outsiders, especially ones from California.

Well said! I can't tell you how many huge cabin/mansions are standing unoccupied, carved out of the side of the mountains behind me because folks moved here in search of "their dream" only to make it one winter and high tail it out.
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Old 04-16-2012, 03:37 PM
 
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If you are from Southern California, think Big Bear as an example of what you can expect in Montana and even worse in the mountain areas where it can get really bad where you should think Lake Tahoe and the ski ares there. If you like the winters in Big Bear or at Lake Tahoe, you may like Montana winters. If you don't forget it. This winter has been a mild one with an early spring, but next winter may be terrible. Last winter was in between and Thanksgiving Day, we had 30 inches of snow (due to heavy snow and blowing wind) laying in our driveway which had to be plowed out,

Too many people come to Montana in the Summer and love it, and when winter hits they only want out of the state as fast as they can get out.
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Old 04-16-2012, 05:58 PM
 
629 posts, read 1,622,239 times
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I think having to ask if the winters are harsh is kind of like that old saying involving prices where "If you have to ask how much, then you can't afford it."

If it's a move you're seriously considering from southern California you should absolutely come out and spend a week or two in January in one of the towns you're considering. Not at a ski resort, but in the town exploring. Reading about how hard a winter can be or spending a week skiing and then assuming that living it will be no big has to be reason #1a or 1b for why people move to MT and then end up leaving a few years later.

If you were a single person I'd say to go ahead and give it a shot, but with a spouse, kids and pets that's an awful lot to uproot and disrupt without knowing exactly what you're in store for.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:50 AM
 
Location: Billings, MT
9,874 posts, read 9,841,353 times
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Quote:
"We want to live close enough to a bigger city to have the amenities needed, but far enough out of it to have some land and be able to enjoy the quiet. We are from Southern California so we are not use to harsh winters."
"bigger city"?? Well, there is Billings, and there is Great Falls, and there is Missoula. Other than those, there are small cities and smaller towns. A friend of mine is a licensed electrician, and he finally got a job after many months of searching. Some weeks he actually gets a full 40 hours! A new dental center just opened here in Billings Heights, and they are now hiring...
"amenities needed"?? If you need more than a grocery store, a hardware store, a restaurant, a bar/casino, a gas station, and a post office, you may be looking at the wrong places.
"harsh winters"?? First, define "harsh" for us. If you mean temperatures below zero F. for days at a time, then we have harsh winters. If you mean temperatures below 32 degrees F. for weeks at a time, then we have harsh winters. If you mean snow on the ground and icy roads for months at a time, then we have harsh winters. We learn early on to deal with it.
"...far enough out of it to have some land and be able to enjoy the quiet..." good luck. I have some friends that retired here from SoCal, and bought 20 acres on a mountain side. Their driveway is so steep that much of the winter they are house-bound, can't even get to town to buy groceries or get their mail, or haul their trash out. They have deer, turkeys, and squirrels in their yard all the time. they love it. Not many could live like that these days!
Good luck.

Last edited by ElkHunter; 04-17-2012 at 12:13 PM.. Reason: Fixed the quote
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